History & Facts of Wisconsin Counties

Wisconsin County records can vary extensively from county to county in either quality not to mention quantity. Some are already very carefully maintained while some have been significantly abused and neglected. Some Wisconsin records have merely disappeared. For genealogists performing research in Wisconsin you will find no valuable replace for an on-site research of county court house records.

Wisconsin divided into 72 counties. Each county serves as the local level of government within its borders. Counties in Wisconsin are run by county boards, headed by a chairperson. Counties with a population of 500,000 or more must have a county executive as well. Smaller counties may either have a county executive or a county administrator.

Wisconsin Counties

In mailing requests to any Wisconsin county office, use the name of the county and “County Courthouse,” with the address listed on the county page (linked below). Records at the county level are the responsibility of the following offices: birth, marriage, death, and land—register of deeds; court—clerk of courts; probate—county probate court.

County Date Formed Parent County County Seat
Adams March 11, 1848 Portage County Friendship
Ashland March 27, 1860 La Pointe County Ashland
Barron March 19, 1859 Polk County Barron
Bayfield February 19, 1845 St. Croix County Washburn
Brown October 26, 1818 unorganized territory Green Bay
Buffalo July 6, 1853 Jackson County Alma
Burnett March 31, 1856 Polk and Douglas Counties Siren
Calumet December 7, 1836 Brown County Chilton
Chippewa February 3, 1845 Crawford County Chippewa Falls
Clark July 6, 1853 Jackson County Neillsville
Columbia February 3, 1846 Portage County Portage
Crawford October 26, 1818 unorganized territory Prairie du Chien
Dane December 7, 1836 Crawford, Iowa and Milwaukee Counties Madison
Dodge December 7, 1836 Brown and Milwaukee Counties Juneau
Door February 11, 1851 Brown County Sturgeon Bay
Douglas February 9, 1854 La Pointe County Superior
Dunn February 3, 1854  Chippewa County Menomonie
Eau Claire October 6, 1856 Chippewa County Eau Claire
Florence March 18, 1882 Marinette and Oconto Counties Florence
Fond du Lac December 7, 1836 Brown County Fond du Lac
Forest April 11, 1885 Langlade County Crandon
Green Lake March 8, 1858 Marquette County Green Lake
Grant December 8, 1836 Iowa County Lancaster
Green December 8, 1836 Iowa County Monroe
Iowa October 9, 1829 Crawford County Dodgeville
Iron March 1, 1893 Ashland County Hurley
Jackson February 11, 1853 La Crosse County Black River Falls
Jefferson December 7, 1836 Milwaukee County Jefferson
Juneau October 13, 1856 Adams County Mauston
Kenosha January 30, 1850 Racine County Kenosha
Kewaunee April 16, 1852 Door County Kewaunee
Lafayette January 31, 1846 Iowa County Darlington
Langlade February 27, 1879 Oconto County Antigo
La Crosse March 1, 1851 Crawford County La Crosse
Lincoln March 4, 1874 Marathon County Merrill
Manitowoc December 7, 1836 Brown County Manitowoc
Marathon February 9, 1850 Portage County Wausau
Marinette February 27, 1879 Oconto County Marinette
Marquette December 7, 1836 Brown County Montello
Menominee May 1, 1961 Oconto and Shawano Counties Keshena
Milwaukee September 6, 1834 Brown amd Iowa Counties Milwaukee
Monroe March 21, 1854 La Crosse County Sparta
Oconto February 6, 1851 Brown County Oconto
Oneida April 11, 1885 Lincoln County Rhinelander
Outagamie February 17, 1851 Brown and Winnebago Counties Appleton
Ozaukee March 7, 1853 Washington County Port Washington
Pepin February 25, 1858 Dunn County Durand
Pierce February 25, 1858 St. Croix County Ellsworth
Polk March 14, 1853 St. Croix County Balsam Lake
Portage December 7, 1836 Brown, Crawford, Iowa and Milwaukee Counties Stevens Point
Price February 26, 1879 Chippewa and Lincoln Counties Phillips
Racine December 7, 1836 Milwaukee County Racine
Richland  February 18, 1842 Crawford and Sauk Counties Richland Center
Rock December 7, 1836 Milwaukee County Janesville
Rusk May 15, 1901 Chippewa County Ladysmith
Sauk January 11, 1840 Crawford, Dane and Portage Counties Baraboo
Sawyer March 10, 1883 Ashland and Chippewa Counties Hayward
St. Croix January 9, 1840 Crawford County Sheboygan
Shawano February 16, 1853 Oconto, Waupaca and Winnebago Counties Shawano
Sheboygan December 7, 1836 Brown County Hudson
Taylor March 4, 1875 Chippewa, Clark, Lincoln and Marathon Counties Medford
Trempealeau January 27, 1854 Buffalo, Chippewa, Jackson and La Crosse Counties Whitehall
Vernon March 1, 1851 Crawford County Viroqua
Vilas April 12, 1893 Oneida County Eagle River
Walworth December 7, 1836 Milwaukee County Elkhorn
Washburn March 27, 1883 Burnett County Shell Lake
Washington December 7, 1836 Brown and Milwaukee Counties West Bend
Waukesha January 31, 1846 Milwaukee County Waukesha
Waupaca February 17, 1851 Brown and Winnebago Counties Waupaca
Waushara February 15, 1851 Marquette County Wautoma
Winnebago January 6, 1840 Brown, Calumet, Fond du Lac and Marquette Counties Oshkosh
Wood March 29, 1856 Portage County Wisconsin Rapids

Wisconsin Extinct Counties

Wisconsin contains counties that no longer exist. They were established by the state, provincial, or territorial authorities. Many of these counties were created and disbanded in the 19th century; county borders have adjusted very little since 1900 in the vast most of states. These counties need to be checked out when performing family history and genealogy research. Pay close attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was abolished or merged with a different county.

Wisconsin Counties with Burned Courthouses

The harm to Wisconsin courthouses considerably has a effect on genealogists in every way. Not only are these historic structures torn from all of our lifetimes, so are the documents they housed: marriage, wills, probate, land records, among others. Once destroyed they're lost permanently. Although they have already been placed on mircofilm, computers and film burn up too. The most tragic side of this is the reason that virtually all of our courthouses are destroyed at the hands of arsonist. However, not all records were destroyed. Many Wisconsin counties have suffered a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.

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